Editor’s Note: This article was updated in February 2017.
Whilst it’s only been around for the past couple of years, as Hearthstone’s popularity continues to soar we’re seeing prize pools grow larger than ever with new investors getting involved in the scene. At Blizzcon 2016 a huge one million dollar prize pool was up for grabs and we’re seeing more tournaments emerge through 2017 offering massive rewards to the victors.
So fierce has the competition become that many of the highest earners might struggle to even make it to the World Championships this year. So who has managed to amass the largest pile of winnings so far from the title that’s put digital card games back on the map? Here are the top 10 tournament earners in Hearthstone, according to esportsearnings.com.
10. Jon ‘Orange’ Westberg – $130,800.04
Swedish player Orange has had an incredible 2016, with performances that have made him one of the best players to watch this year. With wins at SeatStory Cup VI, a runner up spot at WESG and multiple high place finishes it’s easy to see why he’s risen up the ranks so quickly. As a former Magic The Gathering player, Orange brings a lot of card game experience to Hearthstone, which should see him rise further up the earnings chart over the next twelve months and a shoe-in to qualify for this year’s World Championships.
9. Adrian ‘Lifecoach’ Koy – $134,030.19
Koy is one of Hearthstone’s most celebrated players and has regularly been at the top of its leaderboards over the past few years. He’s a German eSports athlete but he currently lives in Vienna with his wife and two daughters and plays for European side G2 Esports. Originally a keen poker player, Lifecoach began playing the Hearthstone beta in 2013 and has won plenty of Premier tournaments ever since its release, including $50,000 at the Archon Team League Championships, $10,000 at Celestial Invitational #1, and $10,000 at SeatStory Cup V in 2016. He’ll be looking to work his way to BlizzCon again this year.
8. Aleksandr ‘Kolento’ Malsh – $135,105.06
Kolento is a 24 year old Ukrainian player, currently on the Cloud9 roster, who previously played World of Tanks competitively. Throughout 2014-2015 he was widely regarded as one of the most consistent professional Hearthstone players out there, with wins at DreamHack 2014 for $10,000, CN vs EU Season 2 for $22,673 and the Kinguin Pro League 2015 for $10,000. The big wins have slowed down lately, but he’s contributions to the game are still felt, especially in deck design. He’s perhaps most famous for his Rogue play and is often attributed as the creator of the popular Miracle Rogue deck, variations of which are still used competitively today.
7. Wang ‘Tiddler Celestial’ Xieyu – $138,681.67
Xieyu plays on Team Celestial and was one of the most powerful forces in the competitive scene in 2014 when he finished second at the Hearthstone World Championship, winning $50,000, and second at World Cyber Arena 2014, winning $48,750. While he has been relatively quiet over the last couple of years, with a few top four finishes and one big win at DreamHack Summer 2015 for $12,500, we’re yet to see whether he’s going to firmly establish himself again in 2017.
6. Zhou ‘Jasonzhou’ Bin – $139,154.57
A huge chunk of Jasonzhou’s Hearthstone earnings come from his 3rd-4th place finish in the 2016 Hearthstone World Championships. The Chinese player fell to eventual tournament champion Pavel in a close semi-final match but still scooped up $100,000 for his efforts. He’s started off 2017 with a win in the CN vs NA Championship 2017 and will look to continue his successes throughout the year with qualification for the 2017 World Championships.
5. Euneil ‘Staz’ Javinas – $157,172.89
Success has been a long time coming for Staz. The player from the Phillippines has had to miss a number of big Hearthstone tournaments in the US due to visa complications, denying him to chance to play on some of the game’s biggest stages. From past performances, though, it was clear to see that all Staz needed was the opportunity to show off his talents. The finals at this year’s World Electronic Sports Games were just that moment, where he went on to become the tournament champion by beating Orange in the final and claimed a $150,000 prize.
4. Thijs Molendijk – $187,489.49
Molendijk is a Hearthstone player from the Netherlands, also currently playing for G2 Esports, and has been one of the game’s most consistently successful players. He won $10,000 at the Road to BlizzCon Europe Championship, and has come away with prize money from consecutive World Championships in 2015 and 2016. He also earned $50,000 winning Archon Team League Championships with Rdu and Lifecoach. We fully expect they’ll be plenty more silverware with Thijs’s name on it in 2017.
3. Artem ‘DrHippi’ Kravets – $195,166.67
Finishing in second place at Blizzcon 2016 puts DrHippi third on the list of Hearthstone’s highest earners. Even with his loss to Pavel in the final, he still picked up a healthy $150,000 to go with the $15,000 he collected at the HCT Europe Winter Championship and $25,000 from the HCT Europe Summer Championship. Can DrHippi go one better in 2017 and take the World Championship title for himself?
2. James ‘Firebat’ Kostesich – $219,053.10
At the end of 2014 Kostesich was the most decorated Hearthstone player in the world – his big win of $100,000 at the 2014 Hearthstone World Championship and his second place at World Cyber Arena 2015 for $62,680, accounting for the majority of his prize winnings, but he’s got plenty of other tournaments to his name. Named after Firebathero, his favourite Starcraft: Broodwar Player, Firebat is a big fan of Blizzard’s games and he’s managed to climb right to the top of Hearthstone. He failed to qualify for the 2015 and 2016 Hearthstone World Championships, and has since moved into the commentary box to take up the role of caster.
1. Pavel ‘Pavel’ Beltiukov – $275,839.43
The current Hearthstone World Champion understandably sits atop the list of the game’s highest earners after scooping $250,000 at BlizzCon in 2016. It could have been a different story entirely for the Russian player as he was looking dead to rights in his quarterfinal game against William ‘Amnesiac’ Barton before he was saved by Babbling Book – twice. It turned the tide of the match and gave Pavel the opportunity to power through to the final where he beat DrHippi for the grand prize. Some smaller tournament placements have sustained the champ since, though he’ll be looking to hold the title again in 2017.